Built originally in 1899 as a civic club for Italians, the four-story Beaux-Arts landmark changed cultural alliances in 1946 when it began serving Estonian refugees. Since then, the Estonian House has evolved into a full-service community center, albeit one that's housed in a mansion. Up the ornately carved wooden staircase is the Great Hall, where formal dinners for visiting dignitaries, film screenings, and language classes are held amid gray-and-white-striped paneling and diamond chandeliers. Downstairs, a clubhouse café and bar serves traditional Estonian meat-and-potato dishes as well as native liquors. While some events, such as flea markets, are open to the public, the majority are restricted to members of the Estonian Educational Society.
243 E 34th Street
New York, NY 10016